8FOLD/ACRA: Jolt City # 7, The Last Trapper Story!
milos_parker at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 20 08:35:08 PDT 2007
THE LAST TRAPPER STORY!
Previously: Martin (Green Knight) Rock and Danielle
Handler (his liaison with the Jolt City police) have
long been working on finding a way to put untouchable
druglord Samson Snapp behind bars. It appears that
they're going to get their wish, as he's involved with
the attempted murder of Roger Costello, along with
Costello's wife and the super-criminal known as the
With Marita Costello in custody and ready to testify,
all they need to secure the case against Snapp is the
Trapper! When last we left Martin, he had just
narrowly escaped from another death-trap...
(This one has a bit more swearing and sexual content
than usual. Reader discretion is advised.)
EIGHTFOLD COMICS GROUP PRESENTS
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# 7 MARCH 2007
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BY TOM RUSSELL //
Martin wakes up in the dark. He's cold and damp
(not wet), his suit tight and wrinkled against his
He hears Danielle calling his name, calling for the
Green Knight. A dart of light shines down.
An electric torch. Dani descending. A rope from
above. "You okay, hero?"
Martin sniffles. "Peachy." He shivers when he
says it, forcing the plosive out. It therefore sounds
less impressive and bad-ass than he was hoping.
She sees through it but doesn't say anything. She
reaches her hand out. Martin takes it with the hand
of his good arm (his less-bad arm?). She pulls him up
and ties the rope around his waist.
He grabs the rope and gives it a tug.
"Pull 'im up, boys," Danielle calls up.
Martin ascends in stops and starts. Below him,
Danielle moves her electric torch across the wet
"Stay put," Martin says sharply.
"Don't worry, hero," says Danielle. "I don't trust
this place. Not at night, and not after the Trapper's
been here. We'll come back in the morning."
Police officers on the platform. They have faces
and names, but Martin doesn't know them, doesn't want
to know them; their arms reach out and pull him onto
the platform, they bear him down to rest.
The rope is untied and lowered. Danielle and her
torch are hoisted up. Martin doesn't offer his
assistance, content, at least this once, to be
exhausted and rescued. To let the police take care of
To let Dani.
"Help me get him to the car," she says to one
officer. In the same breath, she appoints two to
stand guard outside.
"Under no circumstances do you go in or try to
secure the crime scene," she warns. "Not until
daylight, not until we get back."
She sends the rest home.
"So, where to, hero?"
Martin inhales, deep and slow, giving himself time
to think. By the time he's done with that, he doesn't
have an answer; he exhales with the same aim and the
"You don't want me to drop you off at home because
you don't want me to know where home is," says
Danielle. "You don't want to go to a hospital even
though your arm is all busted up to shit. Secret
He breathes loudly, and it's distinct enough to
count as a syllable, perhaps an answer.
"See above," says Danielle. "Okay, look, I'm not
going to drop you off somewhere so you can fumble your
way half-conscious back to wherever you hang your
tights. Not in the condition you're in. And I'm not
going back to the office because I've spent most of
the day going back and forth from crime scenes to
witnesses to my office."
Martin shrugs. "White Castle's open twenty-four
hours a day."
"Do not tell me you eat that stuff."
"It's cheap," offers Martin.
"Be cheaper to buy a couple pieces of bread and
shit between them. Wouldn't even know the
"What about the onions?"
"I hate onions. Look, I'm not hungry anyway."
"Neither am I, now that you've started comparing
food to excrement."
"I'm a four-colour," says Martin. "We're not
supposed to swear."
"Is that so?"
"Got to keep up appearances."
"I need some sleep, more than anything," announces
Danielle. "You can crash on the couch."
"You need help up the stairs?" Danielle asks.
Before Martin can refuse, and, indeed, before her
scratchy-soft voice can trill upwards to transform her
statement into a question, her right arm braces itself
across his back. She presses her shoulder into one
armpit, silently prodding Martin to put his left arm
on her shoulders.
Her fingers wrap themselves into his other armpit.
It tickles at first, causing him to jump. She mumbles
an apology, he mumbles that there was no need for one,
and she reapplies a firm grip; she grabs one rail, he
grabs another, and all too soon they find themselves
atop the stairs.
She breaks the psuedo-embrace and unlocks her door.
There are books piled up in the main room,
knee-high and as far as the eye can see. Danielle
navigates a narrow corridor between hardcovers and
paperbacks so that she can remove some of the books on
the couch. "I'm sorry," she says.
"I'd like to say it's not usually so messy, but
that would be lying. Let me get some pillows, and
you'll be all set."
"You should put a towel down," says Martin. "I'm
"We could hang it up to dry," offers Danielle. She
adds quickly: "I got a ski-mask, some spare pajamas."
"A towel would be fine."
"Okay." She makes her way from the couch, pausing
when she comes to a bottleneck of nonfiction.
"Dani, you okay?" He steps towards her.
"Yeah... just, I'm not tired now. Weird."
"Try to get some sleep," says Martin. "We'll both
need to be on our toes tomorrow morning. That place
is probably rigged up with all sorts of shit."
"I thought... I thought you didn't swear, hero?"
says Danielle, smirking.
"I'm not supposed to swear. Doesn't mean I don't
Danielle opens her mouth to speak, stammering out a
rat-tat-tat of wha-wha-whats like a tommy gun with
"I'm okay," she says. "Just getting caught up on a
"Okay. Go ahead, just take your time."
"It's nothing. Just... silly banter, you know?
Same old, same old."
"Yeah, but I like your banter," says Martin. "You
bant very well."
She smiles, strangling a laugh between her teeth.
"You haven't banted in quite a long time," says
This time the infant laugh escapes, pushed out of
her sideways womb with a sudden thrust of her pink,
"Did I ever tell you, Dani, that you're beautiful
when you're banting?" He means it as a joke, as a way
to loosen her up. Or does he?
He sees the way it affects her, the way she grows
silent and sad. He puts his hand on her shoulder and
she looks up at him, at his damp green mask.
"So, uh," Martin clears his throat. "Go ahead and
"I was... I was going to say... Well, you remember
what you said before, that you weren't supposed to
swear but that didn't mean...?"
"Well, what I was going to say was, what else are
you not supposed to do? But that's, that's not really
banter, is it? I guess I thought it was funny at the
"You're tired," says Martin. "So am I. We can't
be expected to bant at full capacity when we're
tired." He pats her shoulder with his hand.
She grabs him by the wrist. Her hand is shaking.
"That's just the thing." She puts his hand over her
right breast. "I'm not tired."
She lets go of his hand. He holds it there,
feeling the weight of her breast beneath her blouse.
His mouth is suddenly dry. "Going to get your blouse
wet with my damp glove," he says.
"I don't care," says Danielle.
"I do," says Martin. "It's a nice blouse." He
withdraws his hand.
"Fuck you!" She thunders out of the room.
He follows, against his better judgment. "Dani,
are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she says. She throws a pillow at him
and then pushes past him.
She opens the linen closet and procures a towel.
"Here. I don't want to get my couch wet. It's a nice
"It's a very nice couch," says Martin.
"Dani, just stop for a minute with this. Let's
"I'm allowed to be angry!" she says. "Don't you
dare try to take that away from me."
"I'm not," says Martin. "So you're angry, okay,
you can be angry. I will help you be angry, if you
like. But I want to know what you're angry about."
She takes a deep, unsteady breath, followed by more
of the same, each one angrier than the last.
"Dani, please," says Martin. "Please, for me...?"
"What?" she demands.
"Let's talk, okay? Let's sit down on your nice
couch and let's talk things out. Come on." He
reaches his arms out, grabs her by the shoulders, and
leads her back into the living room. They come to an
entrance-way: guarded by Dickens on one end and
Thurber on another. Martin takes the lead, guiding
her by the hand.
"Careful," he says. "This canyon is in Injun
territory. Might slaughter us at the pass."
"Very PC," says Danielle. "But I thought they only
"You want to take a chance?"
Having reached the cushioned outpost safely, Martin
sets the towel on the couch and sits down. Danielle
sits beside him.
"Okay," says Martin. "Tell me what's on your
"I can't," says Danielle.
"You can be open with me, Danielle."
"No, I can't," says Danielle. "I tried it and got
slapped in the face."
"You mean the, um...?" Martin mimes an imaginary
breast sprouting out of his chest.
Danielle doesn't respond.
"Look, Dani. I like you."
"But," says Danielle.
"No buts," says Martin. "Let me finish. You're
probably the best friend I've got."
"Just a friend."
He snaps: "Will you let me finish, woman?"
"Okay," she says, nodding her head, a little
"Didn't mean to yell at you," says Martin. "But
I... look, Dani, chances are nine out of ten that I'm
in love with you." When he says this, he knows it's
true; he knows it's true by the way his body jumps in
shock, and by the way her eyes light up in a sudden
jerk of catharsis.
"I love you too," she says. She puts her hands
around his skull, and he worries for a moment that
she's going to remove his mask. She lunges forward,
pressing her lips against the damp fabric
She withdraws, rubbing her lips. "That was silly."
"No," says Martin. "It's the problem. I can't
take off the mask. Not yet."
"Because you're not going to like what you're going
"Do I know you?" says Danielle suddenly.
"Sorta," says Martin. "I don't want you guessing."
"I won't," says Danielle. "But you're not...
you're not secretly a criminal or anything. I know
that you're not."
"No, I'm not," says Martin. "Just... once I take
off the mask, though, you'll understand."
"So you will take it off?"
"Of course." He pulls off his left glove. He puts
his cold, damp palm against her warm cheek. She
shudders, kissing his thumb.
"I do love you," he says. "But I have to get you
used to who I am, underneath the mask. Give me time."
"I love who you are, no matter who you are," says
"At the same time, I don't want to make you angry,"
says Martin. "Trust me."
"I do," says Danielle. She grabs his hand,
peppering it with rapid-fire kisses, dry and noisy.
"M... Make love to me. Please."
"We can turn out the lights, you can wear the mask,
but please. Please."
"I want to," says Martin, trembling. "But it's not
the right time."
"I told you I love you, I love the man inside,"
"That's not what I mean," says Martin. "What I
mean is, it's three-thirty in the morning. We have to
be at the Atlas-Wealth Building at dawn. We have to
navigate through a warehouse that's probably got more
booby-traps than you have books. We're both tired and
we need sleep."
"But what if we die tomorrow?"
"Well, that would suck."
"It would," says Danielle. "To have this
conversation, get this close, and then never having
"If we did fool around, we would be stiff, sore,
and tired in the morning. We'd be glancing at each
other with lovey-dovey eyes. Which would be fine any
other morning except for the morning that we're going
into a warehouse full of death-traps. We need to be
focused. Wait until after we get the Trapper, okay?"
"I'm just tired of waiting, that's all," says
"Hey, we're just getting started," says Martin.
"That's not what I mean," says Danielle. She
lowers her head. "I haven't..."
"Been a long time since you got laid?" says Martin,
smiling underneath his mask.
"You could say that."
"Join the club," says Martin. "It's been ten
"Forty-one," says Danielle.
Martin knows what this means, but tries to redirect
her embarrassment by pretending to do math with his
finger on an invisible chalkboard. "Wow, you started
Danielle forces a smile.
"Dani, if that's the case, you really don't want to
lose it tonight. The first time sucks. A lot. If we
did it tonight and we died tomorrow morning, it would
be totally disappointing for you. Better to be
well-rested and live long enough to do it at least
twice. It gets marginally better the second time."
"Is there anything good about the first time?"
"Post-coital cuddle," says Martin. "Best part of
every single time. We can do that if you like."
He presses his body against her back, his knees
finding their place inside hers, his bare hand lying
lazily across her belly. He moves his palm up her
blouse, cupping her breast in his hand.
"Are you supposed to be groping me while we're
cuddling?" she asks.
"I'm not supposed to," he says, removing his hand.
"But that doesn't mean I won't."
He dreams about her. He's never seen her body, but
he's seen Ree's and he remembers the body of his first
lover: her texture, her curves, the soft spots and the
rough spots. He remembers Ree and he airbrushes
Danielle's skin over her, until lily-white is replaced
by deep, luxurious browns. It fluctuates between the
two, unable to maintain the illusion; Martin's mind
latches onto the naked parts of Dani that he has seen:
her face, her hands, her mouth.
He imagines her lips engulfing his cock with a
passion and a fury that he knows she could not
possibly possess. Though dreams do not follow logic,
the latter can upset the former. His dream creates a
plausible explanation to prevent this upset: an
appropriately slutty past for his new lady.
"I'm sorry I lied," she says between licks. "You
have you secrets and I have mine. Martin."
He starts to come, and she directs his spurts
towards Ree's white bosom. He feels something twitch
inside him, and he jerks awake as his spandex fills
Danielle stirs. "What's wrong, baby...?"
"Nothing," says Martin. He looks at the clock.
Six. "Go back to sleep."
"Where are you going?"
"Nowhere. My love." He adds these last two words
to strengthen the first.
He fumbles towards her bathroom and turns on the
light. He pulls off his pants and turns on the
faucet, waiting for the water to get hot.
Martin glances at himself in the mirror, and the
mask stares back at him. Guilt twinges in him like a
As he gently but vigorously scrubs the semen out of
his pubic hair, he thinks back on his dream, and
suddenly he feels a thousand eyes on him, staring at
his partial nakedness and the seeing his every
thought. He doesn't really think of Danielle that
way, as an object of lust. It is love and, what's
more, it's somewhat chaste. Almost child-like and
goofy. Something new...
You can't control your dreams, he reminds himself.
It's not you, it's your subconscious. Something
inside you, buried deep: deep and ugly.
"I love her," he says to himself out loud. "No
more dreams like that," as if that will make the
He wipes his spandex dry if not necessarily clean
before pulling them back on. He's done here, but he
doesn't leave: the mask in the mirror is still staring
He wants to take it off. Wants to show Danielle
that he's Martin Rock and get it over with. Wants to
explain that she can't really blame him for what
Nathan Willis did in the park. [*-see JOLT CITY # 4.]
But even without being armed with that vital fact
that Martin Rock and the Green Knight are one and the
same, she (and the rest of Jolt City) doesn't really
have any cause to blame Martin for what happened. He
and Dani have been making real progress together, both
professionally and personally. He doesn't want to
undo that with one mistake.
He will take off the mask. He will. But when
she's ready. When she's ready to forgive and accept
Martin Rock on his own terms. As to how he'll do
"Well," he tells his reflection, "I'll work on it."
Subterfuge. If love is about trust, what does it
say about Martin that he doesn't trust Danielle to
handle the truth? Martin doesn't have an answer. He
makes his exit, conceding to his mask a petty victory.
He curls up next to Danielle, burying his mask in
her hair, feeling its curls blush against the exposed
bride of his nose. And it's here that he finds the
answer to that nagging question of trust: I trust
Danielle not to take off my mask while I sleep.
That's trust enough.
Danielle gets changed. In glimpses and in
movement, Martin sees her body for the first time.
Her breasts are small but round and look heavy, the
way he likes them; her belly curves into a slight
smooth paunch, nice and fleshy and, he supposes, very
soft to the touch; her thighs meaty and long... and
"You're a foxy lady," he says, breathlessly.
She blows him a kiss as she fastens her brassiere.
He blows her a kiss back, his dry lips puckering up
against the now-dry fabric of his mask.
Car ride. En route to Atlas-Wealth.
"So, how'd you sleep, pretty lady?"
"You slept like a baby," says Danielle. Which is
true and a bit surprising: Martin had always been a
light sleeper, always aware of hidden enemies. "But I
couldn't keep my mind off the Trapper. There's
something that keeps bugging me."
"This was a trap, right? He planted clues and
staged a kidnapping to lead you to Atlas-Wealth."
"Right. Which I why I suspect there'll be even
more traps awaiting us."
"But the first clue was planted at the scene of the
Martin snaps his fingers. "So what are the chances
that he would know someone was coming? And, beyond
that, how did he know...?"
"How did he know he'd be able to fake the
kidnapping? He set those wheels into motion at most a
couple of hours before we got the clue."
"So he must have planted it after the fact," says
Martin. "Which means he must have gotten back into
the crime scene. Are you absolutely sure there was no
"Did you know all the homicide cops at the crime
"No, and I bet Bryant didn't, either. I'll call
ahead and postpone going in until after I've..."
"No," says Martin. "We do that, we'll tip him
"What do you mean?"
"He's cocky," says Martin. "He's cocky and he
leaves clues and he thinks he's smarter than us. But
he's stupid. He called the strip club from the
bookstore, announced his plans to kill the woman. And
then he told the bookstore owner it was a joke."
"So he's counting on someone's apathy," says
Danielle. "Or he wants to be caught."
"No, he wants to narrowly escape," says Martin.
"He gets off on this, on the challenge, the thrills."
"What, you think he's going to do it again?
Impersonate a cop, show up at the crime scene?"
"In case he does, we can't take the chance of
tipping him off," says Martin. "We got to catch him
off guard if we're going to catch him at all."
"All right," says Danielle. "Let's see if we can't
snare a Trapper."
A dozen cops.
"Men," says the Green Knight, "this is an extremely
dangerous mission. The man we're after could be the
craftiest and most cunning criminal I've ever faced in
my entire career." It's not exactly true, but it's
not exactly a lie, either: that's why he said the
Trapper could be the craftiest.
"We don't know what awaits inside, but we know it's
extremely dangerous. I would go it alone, but I'll
need sharp eyes to watch my back. And, of course, I
can't exactly conduct a crime scene with an electric
torch and gas capsules."
Some of the men smile.
"It's important that when I say jump, you jump.
And I can't waste time trying to explain which one I'm
talking to. So I'm going to need to know all your
names, and something about you. I find that helps my
"So, if you'll step forward and introduce
A man steps forward with beady eyes and clasps
Martin's hand. Martin knows immediately that it is
"It's him!" he says, reaching for the Trapper with
his free hand.
Something stirs in his captive palm, and suddenly
Martin finds himself covered in a net. There's a
deafening roar as the Trapper takes to the skies in a
personal rocket pack.
Danielle rushes over to Martin.
"I'm fine, Dani," he says quickly. "Get him first
before he gains too much altitude."
Danielle turns her eyes and her gun to the skies.
She pulls the trigger once and the Trapper falls ten
feet to the ground. The other officers rush towards
She brings her guns to her lips and blows.
"We make a good team, lady," says Martin.
"Hiya hero," says Danielle. "Do you want the bad
news first, or the worse news?"
"Start off with the bad."
"Doctor Costello was found dead this morning in her
cell. Camera can't identify the killers."
"How'd they get in?"
"They vibrated through the walls."
"Mass produced," says Danielle. "And word on the
street is that Snapp's recruiting more dealers, with
the promise of Vibra-Jackets to protect them from any
Green Knights or Crooked Men that might come their
"But how'd he get ahold of them? Larry Strode
returned the prototype."
"Larry Strode also had a photographic memory," says
Danielle, patting a file.
"Shit," says Martin. "Well, we may have lost
Costello, but we still have the other half of the
case. We still got the Trapper."
"And that's the worse news. The Trapper, a.k.a.
Justin Jace, is wanted for sixteen murders across four
"So we captured a serial killer," says Martin. "I
fail to see how that's worse news."
"Eight of them were in Texas."
"Oh, you got to be kidding me."
"No joke. Nature and extent of his crimes, he
won't be getting anything less than death."
"Which means a plea bargain with us is pointless."
"Foster says he's going to try to reason with
Martin waves his hand dismissively. "Any chance we
can try Snapp on what we've got?"
"Well, what have we got, hero?"
"Phone records. Which means that nothing's
Danielle puts her hand on Martin's glove. "That's
not exactly true, is it?"
NEXT TIME: Sex, and lots of it. Be here next month
for "Panic in a Pretty Box!"
(C) COPYRIGHT 2007 TOM RUSSELL.
"Personality is everything that's false
in a human being."-- Sam Shepherd
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